Let’s get real- Instagram stresses me the eff out. Making sure the feed is cohesive, coming up with captions that promote engagement, not forgetting about insta-storying throughout the day, & then there is the nasty little algorithm that’s got everyone’s panties in a bunch.
My boyfriend is the king of staying on top of Instagram trends & was spewing off facts on how the algorithm has changed in 2018. FABULOUS, once I *thought* I sort of had a grasp on things, Instagram switches things up on us. It feels like they never want us to understand how they function, but I am not gonna let a year go by to finally figure it out all over again.
Yes, there has been changes to the Instagram algorithm in 2018, & yes- I am gonna try my best to decode it! I have been researching like a boss, but for things to really stick in my memory, I gotta write it out. SO, that’s what I am doing, because I damn well know I am not the only one pulling my hair out over trying to beat the algorithm.
Here’s the deal, in a nutshell: when you post something on Instagram, it is only shown to 10% of your readers. If the post does well with that 10% right off the bat, then it will get shown to the other 90%- which is why some posts do GREAT & others, not so much.
Mind you, before I begin with tips on how to master this year’s algorithm changes, the research I have done doesn’t necessarily come from Instagram directly as they don’t spill their secrets. All of this is “word on the street” info, but considering how crazy people are about Instagram (myself included), I am trusting what I’ve read.
At the end of the day, it’s all about making sure your WELL THOUGHT OUT Insta content is not being buried & is getting the most exposure/engagement possible!
How to Beat the Instagram Algorithm in 2018
i. DON’T BE A WALLFLOWER
to get engagement, you have to give it. Comments are the pot of gold at the end of the Instagram rainbow. Although, if you’re not replying to those comments, not only are you not showing your readers love- but this will give you an algorithm ding. Think of comments like a conversation. You wouldn’t ignore a friend if they asked you where you got your sunnies. So don’t ignore your readers either! If the comment isn’t a question & doesn’t require a response, heart it. Show the Instagram gods your there, your aware, & your conversating!
Also, timeliness matters! Keep your responses quick within the first hour of posting! The slower your response time, your exposure will decrease.
Which brings me to comment pods. Comment pods are a hack blogger’s came up with to make sure they are getting seen & I am not anti-comment pods. I don’t find it cheating & I have been in a comment pod or two myself (but never more than one at any given time). With the ever changing algorithm & the non-chronological posting order on the feed, people’s content is never getting seen at all & if there is a work around to increase exposure- why wouldn’t you do it? With comment pods, it’s not about having 100 comments, it’s about making sure your content isn’t getting buried
BUT- in 2018, it’s time to leave your comment pod. Instagram caught on, & this can cause you to get shadow banned. Same goes for comment bots- if a comment is below 4 words (i.e. “nice pic!”), Instagram doesn’t count that as real engagement. I know, that blows for the number of comments your getting. Just look at the bright side- all of these changes are meant to promote more AUTHENTIC engagement.
iii. CAPTION GAME STRONG
Gone are the days where an emoji was a sufficient caption (unless you’re a Kardashian). Captions need to be engaging AF to increase the authentic comments on your account! I talked a bit about micro-blogging on the gram here, so if you haven’t read it yet, you should!! Also, rumor has it, editing your caption within the first 24 hours is also a ding in the algorithm.
Then comes the hashtags. I always post hashtags in the first comment of my posts, but in 2018 you have to be very specific with your hashtagging ways so that Instagram doesn’t see it as spam (cause spamming will get you shadow banned!). You will have better luck with 10 super specific hashtags than 30 generic ones.
I am in a bind with this one because I have set hashtags for each different kind of post that I just copy & paste (with minor adjustments, depending on the post), but the key now is to switch up your hashtags. Don’t paste the same ones every time & put some in the actual caption itself. I love hiding my hashtags, but some people are saying commented hashtags aren’t making it to the search pages.
Another tip- you can now FOLLOW HASHTAGS & Instagram really likes when you utilize their new features, so follow dem hashtags kiddos.
iii. STAY ON TOP OF STORIES
I know, getting a post up is hard enough work as it is, but now stories are playing a big roll in this algorithm as well. Keep posting, and when people reply to your stories, try to respond in a timely manner!
Also, be sure to tag locations & use hashtags in stories! All of these small details can give you a big boost. Another good tip is to shoutout other bloggers in your stories- when they message you back & you interact, it shows Instagram you are authentically engaging with people & that’s what this whole algorithm shift is all about. AUTHENTICITY.
iv. GO BACK TO BASICS (& BE REAL!!)
Think back to when Instagram first started, you’d get on & just look to see what other people were up to. It wasn’t about signing on solely to see how your post did, it was about catching up with old friends & seeing what was going on with their lives.
This is how Instagram wants to work. They don’t want you to be a selfish Instagram user only signing on to post photos & check analytics.
I can easily get distracted when I get on Instagram. By the time I am done posting a picture/replying to comments or messages/checking how well a post did, I sign off & forgot to even look at anyone else’s content. I am not intentionally being selfish, but just trying to get to my email inbox. This is a no go. Sometimes you gotta just get on Instagram to interact with the people you follow.
If I didn’t already say this, here it is again. Instagram want’s us to be acting more like real people. They want to see us conversating with each other in a real way. So, although you’ve got to get up that epic selfie you took, take a minute to just explore a bit & leave GENUINE real comments. It doesn’t matter how many followers someone has, if you like a photo, comment!!! Don’t do it just to get your name on a big bloggers photo, do it cause you mean it.
v. NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE AN #AD OR #SPON
Okay, & here we are again with the whole authenticity push. SURE, Amazon should be working with me considering how much I rave about them on my Instagram account, but they aren’t & that doesn’t stop me from authentically sharing my latest Amazon score of the week. More of that, less #ads.
Share things, or people, you actually stand behind on both Instagram & Insta-stories, & always always give credit by tagging that brand or person. Not only will this show Instagram you’re being your realest & just a good Instagram citizen (lol), but it will increase engagement cause REAL recognizes REAL. Ya feel?
In the same regard, if someone shares something from you, don’t let it go unnoticed! If you’re tagged in a photo, or 100 photos a day, pop in to say thank you!
vi. STOP POSTING JUST TO POST
I have lately been noticing a lot of big bloggers decreasing their posting amounts. Instead of three a day, it’s gone down to one a day. Or even one every three days… but when they post, it’s DAMN good content.
We all have our moments when we don’t want to get out of our pajamas or straighten our hair (me more than others I am pretty sure), but instead of stressing yourself out & posting a recycled photo… hold off & wait until you come up with something you’re proud of. Maybe it’s the law of attraction on this one, but the more excited you are about what you are posting, the more engagement it will receive & just for good measure- ENGAGEMENT is the key to beating the Instagram algorithm.
House of Harlow x Revolve Slaine metallic blazer | Frame black ‘Le Skinny’ jeans | black cropped tank (similar) | Public Desire fishnet sock boots | black oval sunglasses | gold lion belt (vintage- similar) | the Fashionlush collection ‘Linda’ evil eye necklace & ‘Whitney’ angel lariat
the edit | metallic moment